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QR codes, PubMed, and MedlinePlus

Carol Gordon, MS, AHIP
Fran Kovach, MLIS, AHIP
Reference and Education
Department of Information and Communication Sciences
Southern Illinois University School of Medicine Library
Springfield, IL

The Illinois Rural Health Association’s 22nd Annual Educational Conference took place in Effingham, Illinois, April 12-14, 2011. In the sixteen years of our exhibit history at the conference, we have presented a variety of technologies to healthcare professionals, ranging from Grateful Med dial-up to 21st century mobile technology.

This year the mobile version of PubMed ( and the mobile version of MedlinePlus ( were showcased at the conference. iTouch and iPhones with free Quick Response (QR) apps, such as i-nigma and RedLaser, decoded mobile barcodes to connect with PubMed and MedlinePlus mobile websites. The QR codes were distributed as bookmarks. Conveniently, the conference coincided with Illinois Snapshot Day during National Library Week.

The attendees were receptive to the cutting edge technology. They asked if they could obtain the free QR apps to access these sites on Blackberry devices. Our response was, “Of course!” Free QR readers are available for Android, Blackberry, iPad, iTouch, and iPhone devices. One person at our booth downloaded a QR app to an iPad and was thus able to connect directly with the mobile PubMed and MedlinePlus sites. Other resources of particular interest at the conference were public health and emergency responder information.

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